Luxury Gifts for the Small Budget

I love buying things for other people. I never quite realized it until I watched “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” and saw that she would take jewelry off and give it to someone if they said they liked it. I don’t do it for some warm-and-fuzzy feeling, I just do it. I hate how we make those sorts of acts out to be a massive ordeal.

Introductions aside, this is my gift guide for this wonderful Christmas (or holiday/birthday/no reason at all) season. There is never a bad time to give a gift to someone you care for. Personally I always look for something that meets the following criteria: Considered, Luxurious, Special. It should have been something you thought of and believe with all sincerity they will love it and it should be something that leaves a lasting impression. Spending plenty of money or finding something extravagant is not the goal, but rather to make someone smile.

Aēsop Maps of Light gift set
Starting around $80
Inspired by astronomy this year’s Aēsop gift sets cannot disappoint. My favourite is the Auriga set which includes A Rose By Any Other Name Body Cleanser, cult-following Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm and the Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol for a mid-day perk-up.

Aēsop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm
Starting around $40, also available at Mr. Porter
If a full-on gift set is a bit much they will love this cult product. It has a very natural, herbal scent which makes it perfectly asexual and suited to most tastes. Oh and it deeply moisturises, so no fear for those who work with their hands all day.

Noble Isle Fire & Space gift set
Starting around $50
I have a tiny lust for all things warm and for the body. This set from Noble Isle includes a shower-and-bath gel and a hand cream in the most warm and cozy scent possible. Inspired by the fireside and whiskey, this pair will keep you warm all winter season. Oh, and that packaging? Slow clap, please.

Mast Brothers Chocolate
Starting around $10
I have already picked up a few for my family, but I neglected to pick any up for myself and now I worry they won’t make it until Christmas. Available in flavours like vanilla, mint, coffee, maple, and sea salt these chocolate bars are both impeccably designed and formulated. If you are in Canada you can find them at Old Faithful Shop.

Holiday ornaments from CB2
Starting around $4
It is a family tradition to gift an ornament at Christmas, and no one ever has too many ornaments. If you are familiar with someone’s holiday colour palette, pick up an ornament that you think they will like. They can use it on their tree or, like I do, stack them on a serving tray on a sideboard. They are an affordable way to give a gift that lasts forever.

Holiday baking issue of their favourite magazine
Starting around $12
Are they a baker? Now is the perfect time to slip over to a local bookstore and pick out a few holiday issues. Most of the big magazines like Martha Stewart Living, Ricardo, Country Living, Canadian Living, etc. do big special editions of holiday baking recipes. They are typically ad-free, cost a bit more than an average issue, and feature sometimes up to 100 recipes with big, beautiful photographs on thicker paper that will last for generations. Even if they already subscribe to the magazine they won’t be receiving this in the mail, so they might not even know it exists! My favourite is the Ricardo Holiday Baking special issue, if you can find it.

Hudson’s Bay Millennium Stripe Cotton Knit Blanket
Starting around $100
Now this is more of a suggestion—$100 is plenty to spend on a blanket—but a blanket is a wonderful idea for a gift. They are a nice way of saying “I don’t want you to freeze and die this winter season”, and I think that means plenty. If $100 is not your style check out Zara Home, Chapters, or your local Winners/Marshalls/HomeSense. I always prefer a stiffer wool-blend variety as I find microfleece stops looking nice after a few months, but maybe sneak around their home to find their type.

Holiday candles
Starting around $10
Unfortunately I live in college residence, which means candles are a forbidden object. Oddly enough that never stops me from sniffing them in stores…and I may have just ordered this wonderful Illume Woodfire Demi Tin Soy Candle. While a Byredo or Diptyque candle would make a charming gift, a $10 candle can be just as nice. Look for a warm scent like pine, smoke or something woodsy.

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